Michael Appleton’s men bounced back from a shocking 3-1 defeat during the week after crashing out of the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy, and secured another win in the league against Crewe Alexandra.
Having seen a number of sloppy early goals conceded in recent weeks, it was the home side the opened up the scoring early.
Appy had changed things around, moving Jon Harley on to the right-wing, Lee Williamson at right-back and Akos Buzsaky on the left-wing, and it certainly made an early impact as Wes Thomas scored his second goal in a Pompey shirt inside two-minutes.
The 25-year-old nodded in from close range after a great delivery from Harley.
Lubomir Michalik was a doubt before kick-off, but the defender was amongst the starting line-up, however it could’ve been the wrong decision as Michalik gave away a poor free-kick inches outside the penalty area. Thankfully Crewe couldn’t convert.
Pompey started to turn up the heat and put on more early pressure – not something know with this most recent squad. And it was only a matter of time before Pompey doubled their lead.
Bond, Andy Bond, took down Wes Thomas in the box – although Crewe fans – and indeed manager Steve Davis were complaining that it could’ve been a ‘Sky Fall’. (sorry it had to go in there)
Izzy McLeod banged in his seventh goal of the season, converting the penalty after some arguments as to who was going to take it. In my opinion, Izzy should be the new permanent penalty taker after captain Brian Howard stepped down from the kick-taking.
Things nearly got worse for Bond, as McLeod pinged in a low cross that was nearly turned in to his own net by Bond – only for goalkeeper Alan Martin to keep it out.
The referee seemed a bit trigger-happy with his cards, handing out a number of cards, with a poor challenge from Howard sending Ajay Leitch-Smith off injured, only to be replaced by Byron Moore.
Martin then needed to stay awake just before the half-time break, once again denying McLeod his first Pompey brace.
HALF-TIME: Pompey 2 Crewe 0
Pompey probably should’ve pushed on and put a couple more past Crewe to increase their goal difference, but it was the visitors who came out first with the early pressure in the second half.
Mikkel Andersen was finally given something to do when Matt Tootle drove a low shot towards the Pompey goal, but it didn’t trouble the Danish stopper too much.
Pompey still looked dominant during the second 45-minutes, but it was Davis’ men who were having more of the possession and playing it around in Pompey’s half.
A shot from first-half substitute Moore wasn’t really enough to trouble Andersen, before the keeper kept out a decent effort from Chuk Aneke.
The visitors continued to push, looking to pull a goal back, but Crewe captain Murphy could only fire over the crossbar from long distance.
A final scrap in the penalty area, cleared by the ever present Gabor Gyepes, saw Pompey hold out for the 2-0 win.
A sloppy second-half that the visitors dominated, if Crewe had nicked a goal late on, it wouldn’t have surprised me if they’d gone on to grab a point. Despite a great win and Pompey flying up the table, I’m still left ruing Michael Appleton’s lack of changes. 2-0 was a pretty comfortable lead, but it was only going to take a goal from Crewe to get back in it. The game was there to be killed off, but still waited until 76-minutes in to make a change, replacing Akos Buzsaky with Jack Compton, and then bringing on Luke Rodgers for Izzy McLeod with only three minutes to go.
Next up is another tough match against Shrewsbury Town, who linger around a similar position to Pompey in the table. Lets hope to see back-to-back Fratton Park wins this time!